Sports

Liguori: Picking A Winner In Today’s Final Round Is A Tall Order

PGA Championship Final Round Will Be A Thriller
Jim Furyk lines up his putt on the sixth hole during the first round of the 95th PGA Championship on August 8, 2013 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Jim Furyk lines up his putt on the sixth hole during the first round of the 95th PGA Championship on August 8, 2013 in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

By Ann Liguori
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Let the Final Round begin! And what a packed leaderboard it is! Picking a winner won’t be easy. Whoever can control their nerves, play flawless golf, be dead accurate off the tee, hit precise approach shots and make all kinds of putts will win! Sounds like a tall order? Oak Hill puts a premium on accuracy so patience will be key.

And Jim Furyk, who leads Jason Dufner by one shot, is certainly patient and steady and has made clutch puts all week.

Furyk has one Major title on his resume – the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields in Chicago. Furyk has won 16 PGA Tour titles. He’s had his chances before though. Last year, Furyk had the lead after 54 holes in four events and did not win. He had his opportunity at the U.S. Open last year as well. Can he close it out this afternoon?

He shot a 2 under par 68 yesterday, coming up with clutch putts including a huge par save on the 18th hole from off the green.

He’s resilient. He’s a veteran.

It would be nice for Jason Dufner to win his first Major but he gets a bit shaky with the short putts. He missed a short par putt on the 8th hole in the third round and in the second round, he almost missed his putt from inside a foot to shoot 63 to tie the lowest score at a Major Championship and to break the course record.  Inside that expressionless exterior may be a bundle of nerves. But he’s such a nice guy and he’s from my home town of Cleveland, Ohio, so I would like to see him win it.

Henrik Stenson of Sweden finished second at the British Open in July and last week, tied for second at the WGC-Bridgestone event. Stenson is only two behind and could pull it off. Fellow Swede Jonas Blixt is three back. Could Stenson or Blixt become the first male from Sweden to win a Major?

Steve Stricker has never won a Major. He’s such a nice guy, I would like to see him win one! He’s only 4 shots behind. It would be a nice memory and help erase his poor performance at the 2012 Ryder Cup matches.

Masters champ Adam Scott could very well do it. After draining that long bomb for a birdie on the first hole in the third round, I thought he would be closer to the top. But he could turn it around in the final round with his classic swing and determination to win more Majors.

Rory McIlroy has rekindled the magic, at least for one round when he shot a 3 under 67 in the third round, draining a long birdie putt on the 17th hole and chipping in for birdie on the 18th. At three under, defending champ McIlroy is six shots behind.

Can Lee Westwood finally do it? He’s also six shots back. I don’t see it happening this time around.

We do know that the top player in the world won’t be there. At the time of this writing, Tiger has pared the first four holes to remain at plus four for the tournament. I feel that he puts far too much pressure on himself to win a Major at this stage in his career. He may need a mental coach more than a swing coach at this stage.

Enjoy the Final Round. It should be a thriller!

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